September 2011 Archives

Pumpkin my cat

I get requests from people asking me about Pumpkin and I've been thinking about blogging her so I'll give it a shot.

My family has always felt most complete with a dog and a cat in the house. I don't have the financial resources to help people significantly but I can give a dog or two and a cat lives of kings.

Mork, our last cat, a Silver Persian, was dumb as a stump but he loved to hunt. I'm pretty sure the hunter turned into the hunted and he was eaten by the coyotes that are plentiful around here. So we were catless for a while.
My wife and I kept seeing two feral cats in the scrub at the top of the hull above the beach. One was a tough looking black and white cat with half a tail. The other was a pretty calico cat. We'd see them darting in and out of the bushes from time to time. Jill told me she wanted to capture the calico and bring it home. I said over my dead body. I did not want another cat. I was still mourning Mork.

So there I was, relaxing watching TV one night, the night before Halloween, when in came Jill. I heard her say, "Look what I brought home." There was the calico cat in her arms. She had lured it over to her with some food, grabbed it and brought it home. I was pissed. I did not want to go through the cat as coyote food thing again. "Get that damn cat out of here now!" "No."

She put the cat down and in about two minutes the cat had jumped up into my lap, crawled up onto my chest with her face just below my chin. There she sat, purring and drooling while I stroked her. "This is someone's cat." I said." It's too comfortable around people to be a real feral cat." We fed the cat, liverwurst and some scraps. It ate everything. When we went to bed the cat climbed up onto the bed and settled down on my pillow right behind my head. Around 2am I woke up and asked Jill, "Where's the cat?" "She just jumped out the window," a second floor window, but I think she jumped onto the glass roof over our swimming pool below. "Oh well, she's a feral cat. She's rested and well fed and now she's back to the woods to do feral things." I was disappointed but I didn't say anything.

The next morning I came downstairs and there at the glass French doors sat the cat looking in. "Let's call her Pumpkin." I made a sign and posted it at the top of the hill but nobody called about the cat so we took her to the vet to be checked out. She was healthy and already neutered and after paying $140 she was ours and she made herself right at home.

She is the most amazing pet I have ever owned. She is incredibly sensitive to our moods and she can be very comforting when you need it the most. When I was sick for a few months the cat would crawl up onto my chest and just make me feel better. She knew when I was down. She gets along with Freda just great and she even puts up with Ruby the puppy. Ruby sniffs Pumpkins butt and Pumpkin punches Ruby in the nose. I  sit up and wait for her at night because there is no way I am leaving her out all night. Luckily she comes in between 9pm and 10pm usually. A few times I have left the door wedged open slightly so she could get in and I have gone to bed, worrying. But she is always there in the morning. She dines on expensive cat chow and Ahi tuna steaks that I buy frozen, thaw in pieces and cut up for her. She likes tuna. She likes to sleep on my head. We call it the"cat hat". She is a hunter and brings all kinds of critters into the house, dead, half dead and sometimes still alive. She can leap into the air and snag a hummingbird right out of the sky. Jill hates that. Me too but hell, she's a cat. She catches bats and leaves them dead on the kitchen floor for me to find in the morning. She likes to go for walks. When I take the two dogs for a walk Pumpkin tags along bringing up the rear. It's cute as hell. And the good news is that with the beach right outside the door we live next to the world's biggest cat box and that's where she goes. I know I am too emotionally invested in this cat but that's just the way I am built.

So that's my cat.

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For Rich

I'm still struggling to figure the image management out.V 40  SAIL PLAN blog.jpg

Farewell Rich Worstell



SPIKE boat.jpg


I was tempted to make this heading" Rich Worstell rest in peace". But in Rich's heaven he is not in peace. Rich didn't like being at peace. Rich liked to be busy and kind of agitated. It suited him. So I like to think that in Rich's heaven he is racing about working on a  new project. I'll bet he's starting to build another new plane. They must fly in heaven.

 

Rich owned Valiant Yachts ever since Uniflyte went belly up about 22 years ago. He moved production to his home on Lake Texan in Texoma where Rich owned what I would call an old fashioned "factory town". Rich pretty much owned everything at his end of the lake including a building large enough to build Valiants. Rick brought in some skilled workers he had known at Islander from when he was the Islander dealer and began building the Valiants. He had been the Valiant dealer down there and he had faith in the line and he loved the boat. I'm not sure how many Valiants Rich built but he built a lot. Last year he stopped production. The volume was just not there anymore to justify the work force.

 

I liked Rich a lot. He was a short, stocky guy with blue eyes and a broken nose and I have no doubt how the nose got broken. But Rich was fair and not close minded. One day we stood on the dock at the Annapolis Boat Show next to a Valiant 40 and I mentioned casually that we could make the boat better if we added a bowsprit, a simple pipe frame sprit. Rich looked at me like I was nuts and asked why. I told him we could improve the helm balance. Now he was pissed. He said, "The balance is perfect!" I tried to explain and finally resorted to telling him, The balance may be perfect for you but it's not perfect for me." I truly thought he was going to throw me in the drink. I was a lot younger than Rich, about 9" taller and 25 lbs. or more heavier but I knew I would be the one going swimming. The next year at the Annapolis Show there sat the newest Valiant 40 with a bowsprit. Rich went on and on about how it has improved the boat. I finally said, "That's what I told you last year but you objected." He said, "I know. You were right."

 

Rich was generous.

Rich gave really good parties.

Rich built a fabulous sea plane from scratch, a Beaver I think it was. It was a work of art.

I have more Rich stories like the time he wanted to chop my head off. I'll save them for now.

It will be impossible for me to think of Valiants without thinking of Rich.

Stay busy up there Rich and if you need some metal work done look for Spike. You guys would get along great.

Bob tries a blog experiment

This is a test to see if DrFerron is right about how to use spell check for my blog.

Bug Blog

jill.jpg"Bug" was my father in law's nickname for my wife of the last 35 years Jill. She was the mischevious one of the four kids and she tells one story of her father pulling of the road on the way up to go sking so he could wash her mouth out with snow for saying something that was "innapropriate".

 

Jill was/is an amazing skier. She skied on profesional demonstration teams and competed in freestyle events and once appeared on the WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS. But she fell. When she tried to teach me to ski at age 40 she said, "Just follow me and do what I do." I was on my face in no time. "I can't see you doing anything. " I told her. "One moment your here. Then you are over there and I can't see anything changing." I finally hired an instructor and became a competant "intermediate" skier. She had Max and Spike skiing when they were 5 years old.

 

Jill is a 5th grade school teacher and a very dedicated and hard working teacher. I volunteer in her class room once a year teaching the kids to draw square rigged ships and often doing some music with them. They can drive me nuts but Jill takes it in stride.

 

She is a tough sailer and this summer had me teach her to take the boat in and out of the slip by herself. I have raced in rough weather when Jill was the only person on board along with me who was not seaasick and  still capable of doing what needed to be done. She likes working on the boat and is a wizz with sandpaper and varnish. Spike's death has been, well, there just isn't a word to convey how hard it has been for her. She cries often. She and Spike had a unique bond. They truly loved each other as much as you can sanely love another person. The loss of that love has left a huge hole in Jill's heart. But she is a fighter and she is pouring energy into going after Swedish hospital and the idiot doctor, Robert Hogg, responsible for Spike's death. She is a very hard worker and gardening, working on the boat and going after Swedish is her therapy. She has taken up playing the cello again. She had not touched it since Spike died until last weekend.

 

Jill is a beekeeper. We can't keep the bees at the beach, the neighbors would object. But Jill keeps her hives about 4 miles away at her best friend Kristin's house. It's a lot more work than you might think and she has become quite expert at it. Friends line up for her honey.

 

I love her very much. She has supported my yacht design habit for many years. Her parents thought I was a bum without a real job. Maybe they were right. But she has stuck with me and I am lucky for that.

 

Spike came to Max in a dream shortly after he died and told Max "Make sure Mom and Dad stay together."

No worries on that Spike.

Hot Diggety Blog

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I have two dogs, a ten year old German Shepard mix mutt we found on the beach when she was 6 mos old, Freda and a brand new, 6 month old Portuguese Water Dog, Ruby Ree.

Ruby is our second Portuguese Water Dog (PWD). They are a real handful and the perfect boat dog. Ruby has an iron gut and eats things off the beach that give her what I call "low tide" breath.

She is smart as a whip and naughty as hell. She loves the boat, swims everyday and is very lovable. Freda endures Ruby. Ruby loves Freda. My old PWD, Piper, went to work with me everyday for almost 16 years. Then one day she just could not get up. I came home from work, my wife had spebnt the daty with her, and I took one look at her eyes and I said, "I'm calling the vet." She had not moved at all for the entire day. It broke my heart to have hjer puit to sleep but I know it was the right thing. Freda is big, maybe around 85 pounds and her time is coming soon. She has been an outstanding companion and guard dog. She too has gone to work with me everyday since we found her. She loved Piper and took care of Piper as Piper's site and hearing slowly went. I think Piper just followed the smell of Freda's butt around.

 

That is a pic of Freda and Ruby when Ruby was really young. She weighs almost 40 pounds now. Freda has that "Why doesn;t she sleep on her own damn bed" look. On very rare occasions Freda has snapped at her but she has never ghurt Ruby just got her attention.

 

I'll tell you about Pumpkin my incredible cat some time.

Blogging my blessings

maxplaysrendezvous.jpgMax is my other son. The oldest. Stacy is his wife of almost ten years. I love them both dearly. Max is big and strong and so is Stacy. They play co-ed softball on a team that won the championship this year, again. The team is almost all Phillipino so max and Stacy at 6'5" and 5'10" stand out. Stacy can really whack that softball.

 

I loved it when the two of them moved back into our house so they could save money to buy their own house. I finally had a daughter. When Stacy walked in at night from work I think those were some of the happiest times of my life. I just love feeding a big, hungry crowd. And, I'm damn good at it.

 

Max is a musician and he works at Lockheed-Martin where he is in the Flight Simulator group.

 

Stacy sailing.JPGMax and Stacy:

Bob Blogs along

Tomorrow I will move the mighty PERRYWINKLE back to its marina slip from the moring ball in front of the house. The weather is getting a bit weird and I hate to see my boat bobbing up and down in the steep waves we get.

I have two lines on it but when I hear the wind pipe up at night I get nervous. Last night it piped up and I just bburied myself in the book I am re-reading, DUNE. Pretty silly right? But I saw this book sitting on my neighbors pile of old books he was donating and it was exactly the same copy I had when I was a kid. I could not resist it. I am enjoying it, mostly.

 

This is just practice blogging. No one knows I even blog yet so who gives a shit?

 

I spend each day working and trying to keep my mind away from missing Spike. I can get so angry. I can get so sad. Working is better.

Here is a pic of Spike and Grace with his old VW bus. He had a new Scion "box" but he loved that VW bus. The more work it needed the more he liked it.spikegracebus2.jpg

Bob practices blogging

I miss Spikespike at parade.JPG

This is going to be my blog.

I'm not quite sure what a blog is yet but I'm sure I'll figure it out with the help of my pal Rick Beddoe.

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